The average kitchen countertop depth comes in at 25". Occasionally, depth can go down as low as 24" or as high as 26.5".
Remember, though, when you measure counter depth, start at the wall, not the backsplash. The backsplash can add as much as 1 inch, giving a false measurement.
What is Refrigerator Depth Anyway? (Good Question)It's a mistake to blindly buy a fridge because the manufacturer bills it as "counter-depth." Counter-depth--which most people would think means 25"--is a fluid term.
After all, what dimensions are we talking about? The box itself? No, that's impossible because all fridges need clearance in back for airflow. So we need to account for that.
A fridge box is no good unless it has doors, too. So we have to add 2"-4" for doors.
This diagram, adapted from the KitchenAid Counter-Depth Side by Side Refrigerator KSBP25IN, is a great example of this:
- 24" = The box itself.
- 27.5" = The box with doors, plus space in back. Now we're more than a couple of inches past counter level.
- 30 1/8" = Box plus doors, space, and handles.
Manufacturers aren't being dishonest. It's more a matter of establishing a common frame of reference for what we mean by counter-depth. Still, these fridges are shallower than your average fridge, which can run several inches deeper.
Tip: Be careful when placing counter-depth refrigerators below cabinets. Due to their often-excessive height up to 72", they may not fit.
A Typical ConfigurationIf you want capacity (total interior storage room), but don't want depth, you've got to make it up elsewhere--namely, in width and height. A typical configuration, this from a Samsung Stainless French Door model:
Capacity: 23 cu. ft.
Depth: 28.50 inches
Width: 35.75 inches
Height: 69.63 inches
TipsDimensions, not the name, make it a counter-depth fridge. Let's say you search by keyword for counter-depth fridges and find one listed expressly as "counter-depth" and with a depth of 28.5". Yet if you search for side-by-side or french-door style refrigerators, depth may still come in at around the same range--but cheaper and without the pricey "counter-depth" name.
Conversely, refrigerators are sometimes advertised as counter-depth when they can hardly make that claim. I have seen fridges up to 35 3/4" advertised in this manner.
To find true dimensions, pull up the technical specification drawings for the refrigerator you intend to purchase. KitchenAid, for instance, gives you Dimension Guides on its site for each of its freestanding refrigerators. These are line drawings that indicate the various interpretations of dimension (as we discussed above), so that you can decide on dimensions yourself. Do not rely on the size specifications listed on a product's sales page
CapacityFinally, pay close attention to capacity. Counter-depth fridges range in capacity from a measly 15 cu. ft. to 25 cu. ft. While you may think you're getting a nice, space-saving counter-depth fridge, you're actually paying for it by slimming down in total capacity.
For another view of counter-depth refrigerators, see About Housewares/Appliances.